The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has given Malawians tips on the quality of leaders to look for in the forthcoming May 20 Tripartite Elections.
CCJP has given the guidelines in a guidance document titled Strengthening the Vision Of Our Destiny: Preparing for 2014 Tripartite Elections During Lent and Easter whose preamble is signed by Episcopal Conference of Malawi secretary general the Reverend George Buleya and endorsed by Catholic bishops in the country.
The CCJP letter is also drawing its main thrust from the 1961 Pastoral Letter issued by Catholic bishops ahead of Malawi’s first pre-independence general elections under the theme How to Build a Happy Nation.
Among other things, the guide describes a good candidate as one with proven honesty, moral courage, true wisdom and wide learning.
Reads the letter: “A candidate must be capable of holding public office; a certain ability is needed; a sense of vocation and of dedication to work hard on behalf of the people are essential. Nothing will be achieved without conscientious work on the part of both leaders and people.”
It also mentions good service to the nation, accountability and truthfulness as some of the requirements and qualities of a good leader.
CCJP also says that it decided to release its letter during the 40-day Lent season as well as ahead of the elections because the number 40 has significance in Biblical teachings.
It cites the 40 days of floods during the time of Noah, Israelites in the desert, Moses at Mount Sinai, fasting by Ninevites and Jesus’ stay in the wilderness.
In their Pastoral Letter last December under the same theme of Strengthening the Vision Of Our Destiny, Catholic bishops also spoke against witch-hunting, arbitrary arrests, abuse of power and weakening spirit of patriotism, among others.
They also advised Malawians to choose leaders with vision, stewardship, respect for the Constitution and rule of law, accountable and God-fearing.
The CCJP guiding letter has also defined the roles of a president, members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors.